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GERMANY: Travel Tips

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-Handshaking is customary.

-Normal courtesies should be observed and it is common to be offered food and refreshments when visiting someone’s home.

-Before eating, it is normal to say Guten Appetit to the other people at the table to which the correct reply is Ebenfalls.

-It is customary to present the hostess with unwrapped flowers (according to tradition, one should always give an uneven number and it is worth noting that red roses are exclusively a lover’s gift).

-Courtesy dictates that when entering a shop, restaurant or similar venue, visitors should utter a greeting such as Guten Tag (or Grüss Gott in Bavaria) before saying what it is that they want; to leave without saying Auf Wiedersehen can also cause offence. Similarly, when making a telephone call, asking for the person you want to speak to without stating first who you are is considered rude.

-Casual wear is widely acceptable, but more formal dress is required for some restaurants, the opera, theater, casinos and important social functions.

-Evening wear is worn when requested.

-Smoking is prohibited where notified and on public transport and in some public buildings.

-Visitors should be prepared for an early start to the day with businesses, schools, etc opening at 0800 or earlier.

-It is very common practice to take a mid-afternoon stroll on Sunday; town and city centers at this time are often very animated places, in stark comparison with Saturday afternoons when, owing to the early closing of shops, town centers can seem almost deserted.

-Tipping: it is customary to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, cloakroom attendants, bar and restaurant staff; a 10 per cent tip in standard.

-Do get a Germany cell phone rental so you can stay in touch and coveniently get important information during your stay.

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